Feb. 25, 2014
Freshman Jake Sparger was dominant on Tuesday allowing just four hits in 6.2 innings of shutout work against EIU.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Freshman righthander Jake Sparger pitched into the seventh inning without allowing a run to lead the No. 9 Louisville baseball team to a 6-0 victory over visiting Eastern Illinois on Tuesday afternoon at Jim Patterson Stadium.
Making his second career start, Sparger (Eau Claire, Wis.) struck out three while working a career-long 6.2 innings to earn his first collegiate win. In three appearances on the mound this season, the 6-5 Sparger has a 1.15 ERA and nine strikeouts in 15.2 innings pitched.
Louisville (6-2) earned its second shutout win in the last three games while also holding an opponent to two or fewer earned runs for the fifth time in the last six outings. Following Sparger on Tuesday was sophomore righty Jonah Philley (Louisville, Ky.), who recorded the final out of the seventh inning before freshman righty Zack Burdi (Downers Grove, Ill.) struck out two in 1.2 innings of shutout relief. Junior righty Brandon Alphin (Mt. Washington, Ky.) recorded the final out of the game to preserve the shutout.
At the plate, junior second baseman Grant Kay (Omaha, Neb.) was 2-for-2 with a double, a stolen base, one RBI, one run scored and two walks, while junior outfielder Mike White (East Orange, N.J.) was 2-for-4 with two stolen bases and scored once. Junior shortstop Sutton Whiting (New Wilmington, Pa.) chipped in with a two-run triple and scored once.
The Cardinals started the scoring in the first inning when senior outfielder Jeff Gardner (Louisville, Ky.) delivered a RBI single to left field off Eastern Illinois (1-7) starter Jake Haberer to score senior Cole Sturgeon (Owensboro, Ky.), who doubled earlier in the frame. An inning later, Louisville added to its advantage with a three-run second frame. Whiting started the scoring with his two-run triple down the right field line to plate White and Crain. Moments later Sturgeon scored Whiting on a RBI groundout for the 4-0 lead.
After a scoreless third, Louisville tacked on another run in the fourth on a RBI double down the left field line from Kay to score Crain. The Cardinals added their sixth and final run of the day in the seventh inning when freshman Nick Solak (Woodridge, Ill.) provided a RBI sacrifice fly to center to plate Kay.
Haberer was charged with the loss and dropped to 0-1 on the season after allowing three runs on four hits in 1.0+ innings in the starting role.
Up next, Louisville is scheduled to host Morehead State on Wednesday at 3 p.m., at Jim Patterson Stadium. The Cardinals will continue the week by hosting Toledo on Friday at 3 p.m., No. 17 Indiana on Saturday at 2:30 p.m., and Toledo again on Sunday at 1 p.m., Saturday's Louisville-Indiana game will be preceded by an Indiana-Toledo matchup at 11 a.m., and admission is free throughout the week at Jim Patterson Stadium.
Louisville Postgame Notes
- The Cardinals scored in the first inning for the third time this season and improved to 3-0 this season in those games.
- Louisville improved to 5-0 this season when leading after the eighth inning. Last season, they were 46-0 when leading after the eighth.
- Jake Sparger has worked 9.2 consecutive innings without allowing a run dating back to the first inning of his first career start on Feb. 19.
- With his first inning RBI on Tuesday, Gardner leads the Cardinals with 11 RBI this season. He also leads the team in hitting at .429 overall to go a home run.
- With one run scored each on Tuesday, Sturgeon and Grant Kay lead Louisville with 10 runs respectively.
- Kay added his team-leading fourth stolen base in as many attempts this season on Tuesday.
- Louisville improved to 4-1 at home this season and 218-76 (.741 winning percentage) all-time at Jim Patterson Stadium since its opening during the 2005 season.